Peter David Gross is Director of Programs at Wheatstone Ministries and the Editor of its monthly publication, The Examined Life. He has a degree in Anthropology from Biola University, and is a Member of the Torrey Honors Institute.
10 Pastimes and Interests
1. Art and Design: Making it and appreciating it. If you want to see me cry, take me to an art museum and watch me look at a piece for an hour or two. If you want to hear me giddy, ask me about anything you can look at in my house. If you want to catch me dazed and confused, ask me a personal question when I’ve been working on a design project for five hours.
2. Beauty: If you want to catch me dazed, confused, crying, and giddy all at once, take me somewhere beautiful, preferably in just-before-sunset or just-after-sunrise light. Cities, oceans, forests, mountains–you name it. Music works too, or food. Pick any sense by which to overwhelm me–it doesn’t matter, really. I also like thinking about beauty, strangely enough, and will gladly spend any amount of time talking to anyone about it anywhere.
3. Long, Precise Discussions: Because who doesn’t want to talk about theology and philosophies of time for twelve straight hours? They’re best in small groups, of course. Mine of the past few years has gone and snuggled up with the seven ecumenical councils, South and Central American literature, contemporary prize-winning books, 20th century poets, etc. Cozy.
4. Reading: All the books. Silent and out loud.
5. Family: Sorry, but mine is just bigger and better than yours. My siblings and I are a living testament to the deep, abiding goodness of a Christian family heritage that stretches back for generations. I’m swarmed by cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts, great-aunts, great-grandmas, and, yes, parents and siblings who work hard to imitate Christ and love each other. Friends who visit at Thanksgiving compare us to Tolkein’s hobbits and Norman Rockwell’s paintings. It’s hearty, deep, good, and true.
6. Rituals: Anything from worship services or liturgies to conferences or parties. I love thinking about how the almost-invisible structure of an event affects the people who participate in it. I love designing effective and affecting ones for people whom I love. When I’ve attended a ritual for long enough, my opinions just ooze forth. Look out.
7. Little, Live Theatre: None of this whizz-bang boo-ya big-top la-di-da; I want a show where I can watch the actors squint. By “want a show” I could mean directing it, acting in it, designing for it, or watching it–take your pick. Mom taught drama when I was growing up, and by now I’ve makeupped, setted, costumed, acted, directed, lit, or prompted for more small shows than your grandmother.
8. Terrence Malick: I. am. obsessed. You won’t see a top five movies list on this page, ’cause it’d be too boring. With Tree of Life out, Terrence fills it up.
9. Wheatstone: It may or may not have given me my first shiny clump of little grey hairs. It’s a ministry I love, and the ministry I work for–a source of lots of stress, and a well of earnest joy.
10. Church: Because living in committed relationships with a particular group of believers is a slice of everlasting life.
The Examined Life
An Orderless List of 14 Favorite Authors
Peter Van Inwagen
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Jorge Louis Borges
An Orderless List of 16 Favorite Artists
Vincent Van Gogh